Fordite: A Rare Mineral Only Found In Old Detroit Auto-Painting Facilities

Fordite also called “motor agate” because it resembles the agate that is formed by geological processes, Fordite is a totally unique material that’s a remnant of the automotive industry.

In a backwards-looking version of upcycling, this limited-quantity material is a popular and human-created material that’s used to make all kinds of interesting statement jewelry.

Fordite was made accidentally. Before cars were painted as they are today with an automated, electrostatic process, they were hand-painted by people who sprayed layers of paint on metal vehicles.

If you’ve ever spray-painted before, you know that the tiny droplets of paint get everywhere. In this case, the tracks and skids that the cars rested on got covered in vivid car colors as vehicles were sprayed — and then baked along with the cars to seal the color in.

The skids were used over and over again, baked repeatedly (some up to 100 times), leaving multiple layers of super-hard sprayed paint behind.

Eventually the paint layers would have to be removed, so that the skids could keep being used, and some autoworkers realized they had a really interesting material on their hands that could be cut and polished like a stone. And so, Fordite was born.